As the drive to collect more data and connect more distributed assets continues to impact utilities, taking the opportunity to carry out a network consolidation project can bring a range of benefits – far beyond the obvious one of cost-saving.
Smartphones have demonstrated the efficiencies we can gain by combining multiple services into one device. In a similar fashion, leveraging one communications network to support multiple applications can boost efficiencies and provide better visibility across many facets of your operations.
Simpler network management
Managing multiple different networks for your SCADA, voice backhaul, AMI and DA, for example, can be a headache for your team. In addition to the day-to-day inefficiencies of locating information from different networks, there is also the very real issue of maintaining staff training and in-house knowledge across a range of vendor products.
Fewer conflicting processes
Running your business in alignment with clear processes is easier to do with fewer systems in the mix. The more complexity you add via inter-related systems or networks with different procedural requirements, the more conflicts you may introduce into your processes. This again can result in lost productivity but can also cause confusion within your team.
Easier resolution of issues
Dealing with multiple vendors and systems (some of which may be integrated) can severely impact resolution times when issues arise. Having a consolidated network (and therefore one point of contact) is a major contributor to streamlining issue resolution. Making changes across a network of service providers can also introduce additional paperwork and logistical challenges. Furthermore, service levels may differ significantly between providers – knowing what to expect in terms of quality and timeliness of responses is another benefit brought about by consolidation.
Better network visibility
Having different networks dedicated to different applications can create challenges when trying to have full visibility over the whole grid – especially when you have a range of reporting tools or network management systems to consult. And in an emergency, valuable time can be lost switching between different systems to get a unified view. Consolidating multiple applications across the one network will allow you to view what is happening across your network from one management system.
Click HERE to read about one of our SCADA & AMI network consolidation projects.
Or to find out more about the range of applications our wireless solutions support, click HERE.